U.S. Homeland Security Investigations and Philippine National Police Partner on Anti-Cybersex Rescue Operation in Antipolo City

Antipolo City, May 31, 2019 — The U.S. Embassy in the Philippines commends the Philippine National Police (PNP)-HSI Transnational Criminal Investigative Unit (TCIU) and the PNP Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC) for the arrest of Philippine citizen Kechelle Abayon and the rescue of five children in Antipolo City.

The coordinated effort was successful thanks in part to the strong partnership between U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Manila office and their Philippine counterparts at PNP.  On May 31, 2019, HSI Manila and the PNP-HSI TCIU, in coordination with the PNP WCPC, executed the arrest of Philippine citizen Kechelle Abayon and rescued five, ranging from 4 to 13 years of age.  This operation was supported by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Philippine Department of Justice/Office of Cybercrime (OCC), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the International Justice Mission (IJM), a non-governmental organization.

Abayon was arrested for violating the Philippine Republic Act 10364 (RA 10364) Expanded Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012, in relation to Republic Act 10175, Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, Philippine Republic Act 9775 (RA 9775), Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009, and Philippine Republic Act 9208 (RA 9208) as amended by RA 10364, Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003.

The TCIU is comprised of 21 Philippine National Police (PNP) officers who trained at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center Brunswick, Georgia.  HSI TCIUs are a partnership between HSI and local law enforcement and enhance the host country’s ability to investigate and prosecute individuals involved in transnational criminal activity.